Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hernandez the latest in Pats' TE surgery campaign


With the New England Patriots' tight end corps, it's one step forward and another step back.

Less than 24 hours after the team announced Michael Hoomanawanui's one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported early Tuesday that Aaron Hernandez, the team's No. 1b option at the position, had shoulder surgery this offseason. (photo: Jack Newton, Flickr)

The surgery looks to bench the 23-year-old for most of (if not all of) the team's offseason workouts, though Rapoport noted that reports have Hernandez likely back for training camp.

This is the third injury in three years for Hernandez. The former Gator struggled with ankle issues in 2012, and he missed two games in 2011 with a knee problem. Though the two prior injuries can probably be chalked up to minor hiccups in a long season, the Pats know full well the risks involved once a player goes under the knife.

Not being able to fully count on Hernandez's early-season production really puts a damper on the team's "stacked" tight end squad, as half of the players in the depth chart have now recently gone under the knife. As odd as it sounds, former Giant Jake Ballard is now looking like the most hopeful of the three injured tight ends in the group, as the 25-year-old is more than a year from his knee surgery and is currently working out with the team.

It is unclear how or when Hernandez injured his shoulder.

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily